News and articles relating to the scandal surrounding Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Friday, December 23, 2005

Ney Says He's Confident He'll Be Cleared - Yahoo! News

By DAVID HAMMER, Associated Press Writer

Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record) of Ohio, a focus of the criminal investigation into Jack Abramoff's lobbying, says he's had no conversations with the Justice Department and believes its probe will clear him of any wrongdoing.

"Look, I don't take this lightly," Ney told The Associated Press in an interview Friday after returning from a visit to Iraq. "I have not changed my stripes. I'm doing my job. I commute back home. I go out around the district. Nothing has changed for me."

Abramoff is negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors, and a deal is expected by his Jan. 9 court date. Abramoff partner Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit bribery and identified gifts and donations Ney received in exchange for his support for their clients.

The Republican chairman of the House Administration Committee said he isn't bothered by what Abramoff might do. He acknowledged that the Justice Department has subpoenaed documents from his office, but he said he's not "sat down with them."

"At the end of the day, I am confident I will be cleared," he said. "It doesn't concern me what Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon said. We should lend credibility to them? I don't think so."

Ney disputed some details of allegations in Scanlon's plea agreement that claim Ney accepted bribes from Abramoff, including an expenses-paid golf trip to Scotland in 2002.

"Jack Abramoff had nothing, absolutely, to do with that trip," he said. "I listed him and filed it. He had nothing to do with it. I can't begin to tell you what's gone around, and 98 percent of it has come back false. No, I have not had an inquiry. He had nothing to do with it; he did not even know I was over there."

Ney filed disclosure forms that listed a Republican policy group as financing the trip, but the group denies paying for it.

In the interview, Ney complained about national media coverage, saying local reporters and hundreds of constituents haven't even brought up the scandals with him.

As in the past, Ney declined to explain his side of what happened on the trip to Scotland and donations he received after allegedly agreeing to sponsor legislation to help one of Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.

"I have done nothing wrong and the reason I can't comment on this is I have a side to tell of my story. And that side of my story should be told to one or two or both sources: the ethics committee or the Justice Department," he said. "I'm not going to do this in the media, and I'm sure you understand that."

Great Falls Tribune - Abramoff donations heading to reservations

Tribune Capitol Bureau

U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg's checks are in the mail.

So are those from U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.

And Sen. Conrad Burns' staff is still working out the details of how to return about $150,000 in donations from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates.

Abramoff, whose clients include a number of casino-rich Indian tribes, was indicted in August on fraud and conspiracy charges. The Justice Department also is investigating him for possible congressional influence peddling.

Abramoff and his associates donated generously to dozens of members of Congress, with the bulk of the money going to Republicans, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracked the donations. As the publicity surrounding Abramoff becomes increasingly negative ? Democrats cite the donations as the main reason why Burns should not be re-elected next year ? some have chosen to return the money. All three members of Montana's congressional delegation are giving it back.

For someone like Rehberg, who received a relatively small amount, almost $20,000, the return was fairly straightforward. About $16,000 will go back to the seven tribes, none from Montana, that donated it, said Erik Iverson, Rehberg's chief of staff.

Rehberg is returning another $2,000 to the political action committee at Greenberg Traurig, the lobbying firm where Abramoff once worked. And a $2,000 personal donation from Abramoff and his wife, Pamela, is being evenly divided between the Family Resource Center on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the Domestic Abuse Center on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Iverson said.

Baucus is evenly dividing the nearly $19,000 he received among Montana's seven tribal colleges, said his spokesman, Barrett Kaiser.

"I think it's generous of him to think about us. He's always been very supportive of tribal colleges," said Joseph McDonald, president of the Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation. McDonald said he's received no official word from Baucus, but read about the donations in the paper.

Mark Baker, Burns' campaign manager, said the majority of the senator's Abramoff-related donations, about $100,000, were made before campaign-finance restrictions went into effect during the 2004 campaign season, and there are questions as to how the money can be legally distributed.

At least some of the money will be sent out as charitable donations to Montana's tribes, Baker said.

"We're seeking input from tribal leaders as to where is the best place it can make an impact," he said. Burns will make the final decision, he said.

A Bloomberg News analysis showed that Burns received more than any other member of Congress from Abramoff and his associates, getting at least $136,000 between 2001 and 2004.

Richard Sangrey, chief of staff for the Chippewa-Cree tribe on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, said he's glad Montana's tribes will benefit.

"This is a good thing. Our tribal colleges need all the help they can get," he said.

McDonald agreed, but added that Salish Kootenai College hasn't seen any money yet.

"The proof in the pudding is when you get the check," he said.

Okla. Congressman Donating Abramoff Money - Yahoo! News

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Writer

Republican Rep. Ernest Istook (news, bio, voting record) of Oklahoma is the latest congressman giving away campaign donations from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of a federal corruption investigation.

Istook, a Republican running for governor, described Abramoff as a "minor donor" to his congressional campaign.

"I was not involved in any of his dealings and I certainly have done nothing wrong," Istook told The Associated Press.

Abramoff represented Indian tribes that rolled millions of dollars in casino income into congressional campaigns over a five-year period, according to authorities. The Justice Department is investigating whether trips, gifts and campaign donations arranged by Abramoff were in exchange for official acts by Congress members and whether the tribes were defrauded.

Istook said he would donate a $1,000 campaign donation from Abramoff to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation for Indian health research. A $5,000 donation to a political action committee Istook was involved with will also be given to the OMRF, he said.

Istook said the donations were made a year or more after he signed a letter opposing a Louisiana casino that threatened to undercut the tribes' business.

"I signed the letter as part of my long-standing opposition to the spread of gambling, and for no other reason," Istook said.

Istook, a congressman since 1992, was among 33 lawmakers who wrote letters urging the Bush administration to reject the casino and who received political money from rival tribes, Abramoff and his associates, according to an Associated Press review of campaign reports, IRS records and congressional correspondence.

Campaign finance disclosure reports indicate that, in addition to Abramoff's contributions, Abramoff associates gave $23,000 to Istook between 2001 and 2004.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Intoxination has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Intoxination endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)